Bonjour Paris!


What a fabulous image....I have to confess though that even looking at this photo makes me queasy!










Bastille Day, July 14....




Room with a view....how inspiring....



Just an incredible structure....


Built in 1889 by Gustave Eiffel, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France is 120 years old this year. It was originally built as the entrance arch for the 1889 World Fair and the plan was that it would only stand for 20 years and then be dismantled. It became very valuable for communication purposes however and during the First World War it was a dispatch point for sending Parisian taxis to the front lines and subsequently became a symbol of victory in the War.
Until 1930 and the completion of New York City's Chrysler Building, the Tower was the tallest structure in the world. To this day it remains the single most visited paid monument in the world, over 200 million people have visited it.
It wasn't without its critics when it was first built though, many considered it an eyesore and not at all in keeping with the aesthetics of Paris, criticism coming particularly from the arts community. It was said that the famous writer Guy de Maupassant ate lunch at the Tower's first floor restaurant nearly every day, in spite of being one of its fiercest critics....when asked why, he replied that it was the one place in Paris where he couldn't actually see the structure.
There are lifts and stairs up to the first and second levels and then lifts only to the third level....there are also restaurants on the first and the second levels.
During the German Occupation of Paris during 1940, the French cut the lift cables so that Hitler would have to climb the steps to the summit - he never attempted it. A German soldier did manage to climb to the top to fly the German flag....it blew away after a few hours though and the Germans had to make do with a much smaller flag. When the Allies freed Paris in 1944, the German Commander ordered the immediate demolition of the Tower, his orders were ignored though and the cables were back to working order within hours of Paris being liberated. The French have always said that while Hitler conquered France for some time, he never conquered the Eiffel Tower. Terrible things happened in Paris during the War and I am sure that the Tower proved to be a source of strength many times over to the Parisians.
I have been to Paris many times and have seen the Tower close up, from a distance, during the daytime and illuminated at night, I even saw it shining brightly from 30,000 feet in August when we flew back over Paris from Italy at midnight this summer....it is always breathtaking and exciting....it is the most prominent and iconic structure in France. I have made it to the first level two or three times but just could not go any further....I think it is because you can see out of the lifts (elevators) as they travel up the legs of the Tower and they also have glass floors so there is absolutely no way of avoiding seeing how high you are going!! Next time I might try keeping my eyes closed.....the view is spectacular though, well worth the fear :)
For Kim and Kasey....you know why....

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